Aaaaand it's dead.
NICK DOUGLAS — [UPDATE: It's alive! Dodgeball is the Terry Schiavo of Web 2.0!] Sometimes a product just dies, horribly and suddenly, as if it were unlucky enough to be under a falling piano, stepping into an empty elevator shaft, getting smacked upside the head with a very large rock. It seems that's the fate of Dodgeball, the text-based find-your-friends-at-the-bar service that Google bought in 2005 and promptly abandoned. As of today, the front page is just a "502 server error" (a friend tells me that means the backend server, which actually handles page requests, is dead).
Founder Dennis Crowley, frustrated with the utter lack of support he got while trying to develop the service at Google, finally quit Google (along with Dodgeball's other remaining employee) earlier this month. Hey, maybe someone just unplugged the machine and it'll be back up tomorrow. (Yeah right.) But for now, the few hundred geeks who used this service will have to find something else — Twitter, perhaps? — to announce where they're drinking. Hope they raise a glass to this actually useful service, struck down before its prime.